Staying Open-Minded About Your Healthcare

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I didn't know what I was going to do. After the devastation subsided, I decided to take a very standard, western approach to my healing. Although initial efforts were successful, my cancer recurred a few months later. I endured many additional months of treatment before I started focusing on myself. I decided it was time to incorporate complimentary alternative treatments into my healing regimen, including massage therapy. I can't even begin to tell you how much it changed my life. My healing became a process, instead of something I simply had to endure. I hope that the articles on my website can inspire you to stay open-minded about your own healthcare.

Is It Shin Splints Or A Stress Fracture?

Health & Medical Blog

Any physical activity carries the risk of injury, but sometimes the type of injury isn't always immediately apparent. Case in point, runners often suffer from shin splints—a type of injury along the tibia—but this injury shares several symptoms of stress fractures in the same place, so it can be difficult to tell which one you have. Here are a couple of ways you can tell the difference so you can get the most appropriate treatment fast.

The Pain Worsens Instead of Improving

Shin splints are the result of irritation along the lining of the bone where the muscles attach to it. This condition is typically caused by the exertion of excessive force on the muscles, which results in swelling, pressure, inflammation, and pain. Because the actual injury is inflammation, this condition is often alleviated by icing the area and resting.

On the other hand, stress fractures are actual breaks in the tibia bone that occur when the bone starts to swell from the inside. They develop when runners begin exercising harder and longer, putting increasing stress on the leg bone. In this case, the injury is literally a broken bone and no amount of icing or rest will cause the pain to dissipate. Additionally, while shin splints eventually go away, stress fractures get bigger and bigger over time if left untreated and the runner continues to exercise.

Thus, if the pain in your leg doesn't seem to be getting better after a few days, you should have a doctor take x-rays to determine if you are dealing with a fracture rather than shin splints.

You Experience Pain with Other Activities

Shin splints are a specific type of running injury. Thus, you will usually only feel the pain in that area when you are running. As mentioned previously, it will usually go away with treatment, but the pain will also lessen when you reduce the intensity of your workout or stop running altogether. In general, you won't feel the pain when performing other activities either, such as walking.

With stress fractures, the pain is a constant companion because, again, the bone is actually broken. You will feel the pain whether you run, walk, climb steps, stretch, jump, or perform any other activity that involves your leg. The pain is also often sharper and more localized than the pain from shin splints.

If you develop pain in your legs and are unable to "walk it off," connect with a medical professional as soon as possible to see what's wrong. Stress fractures take a while to heal and can be disabling if left untreated, so you should get diagnosed and start treatment right away.

To learn more about these conditions or to see how sports injury physical therapy can help improve them, contact a treatment professional.


10 October 2018